Back in the day, when I had a regular eight-to-fiver at the insurance agency, there were things in my job that I did REALLY well. I was good at problem-solving: making six phone calls, searching the manuals, not giving up until a solution or resolution was found. I could also schmooze with the best of 'em. By the end of my "career" as an insurance rep, I was the manager of the commercial department. This meant that I had daily interactions with local business owners, wealthy contractors, and the like. Turning on my southern drawl, I could have them thanking me at the end of a conversation where their premium had just doubled. I jest, of course... sort of.
Then there were those aspects of the job which I did NOT do very well. These were the every-day mundane tasks that never felt completed. Things like emptying my inbox, filing, and making sales calls. For the sake of perfect honesty, I confess that these things rarely got accomplished on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. The fact is that I HATED those tasks because it didn't matter how hard or long I worked on them, how detailed I was in completing them, or how much energy I poured into them, they would still be waiting for me the next day. If I filed every single piece of paper in my office, a new stack would appear before the end of the day. If I answered or deleted every single email in my inbox, it would still be full of awaiting messages the next morning when I arrived.
There was no sense of accomplishment or completion. The only reward that came at the end of these tasks was the knowledge that I would just have to do it all over again tomorrow. So, for the most part, they just didn't get done.
What does any of this have to do with anything going on in my life right now? Well, quite frankly, everything.
For the first time in my life, I am a full-time stay-at-home wife and mom. Now my problem-solving skills are limited to spaghetti stains and finger-painted walls. Schmoozing only happens when trying to convince my toddler to eat her vegetables. And the majority of my day is consumed with every-day mundane tasks that never feel completed. When every article of clothing is clean, folded and put away, I am rewarded with the knowledge that the clothes we are wearing right now will be in the basket (or floor) waiting for me in the morning. When every dish is washed, I know that in just a few hours, dinner will introduce a whole new stack that demands my attention. Floors will get dirty again. Toilet rings will come back. Fingerprints will magically appear on glass doors. And toys will be strewn about the house again... probably in a matter of minutes.
I know this sounds like one big, long, unending complaint, but please allow me to continue:
In this place of never-ending monotony, I feel more "right" than I ever have. Our home is a peaceful respite from the oh-so-foreign world outside our door. For the first time in our marriage, our family sits down together for dinner almost every night. And I finally feel like I'm not being ripped apart between school, work, family, friends, home, and church.
And in the bigger picture, I feel like this is just a piece of what the Lord is teaching me on this "trip" to the other side of the world.
Our church here is VERY, very, very, very, very (get the picture?) traditional. I can tell you from start to finish how each hour-long service will go. I can tell you what the pastors will be wearing and how, exactly, they will conduct the service. It's quiet, pensive, and reserved - not ANYTHING like I'm used to, what with my background in the Congregation Holiness (read: very, very, very animated) denomination.
I realize this post is all over the place; so let me try to summarize it all.
I feel that through every experience here the Lord is showing me the value of a quiet, steady, disciplined life. In my home, in the church services, everything is routine, mundane, monotonous, and unchanging. Those are words that would have scared me to death just a few weeks ago. But in this place, where I have no choice but to step into my new "role" as stay-at-home-mom and Samonim, I am learning to find God in the ordinary, the trivial, and even the boring.
It's not exciting. I would venture to say it's probably not even interesting to anyone but me. Still, I'm loving the journey - the quiet, peaceful, slightly boring journey.
God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
Psalm 23:1-3, The Message